The band Rush deserves respect because of their long commitment to acid rock lyrics on a very high percentage of their songs.
Most bands who use acid lyric techniques, only about 10% to 75% of their songs are filled with allusions to altered state phenomena. But Rush is outstanding in that nearly all of their songs contain such double-entendres. Another metric is number of lines. If you gathered all Rush lyrics (excepting the first album) and scrambled them all together by sorting the lines alphabetically, some 50% of the lines would contain an allusion to the altered state phenomena. I've searched far and wide, on the lyrics server, for acid rock songs by all groups, and it is striking how they are inconsistent about pointing to altered state phenomena. Kansas, for example, has Point of Know Return, which is thoroughly an acid rock album, but the surrounding albums are careless about such lyric techniques.
It is inconsistent to pay tribute to the heights of experiencing, one day, and then turn around and ignore it, the next. It's like they don't understand what they have found, whereas Peart/Rush, understands and has mastered it. They are firm that heavy mystic experiencing is indeed the ultimate experiencing and warrants unwavering dedication.
Rush - The Book - "Hemispheres was probably Rush's most ambitious album to date. It was originally inspired by a book called 'Powers Of Mind' written by Adam Smith. Neil Peart explained that Smith was a researcher who studied the occult and various other kinds of philosophies, tried LSD, transcendental meditation and so on. Smith devotes one chapter in his book to the division of the brain into hemispheres - Apollo being the right hand side of the brain and Dionysius the left. Side one of Hemispheres is devoted to the further adventures of Cygnus, the character who was last seen in A Farewell To Kings, plummeting through a Black Hole [self-control vortex of Ego Death encountered via LSD mystic altered state] in his spaceship Rocinante."
Here we have an account of Peart being inspired by a book about LSD, hemispheric division of the brain, TM, the occult, and various other philosophies.
It's terrible how the acid theme, which was preeminent during the 70s, has been lost. Kids these days lack the key, so are unable to unlock the door and decode the lyrical allusions. They are so straight that they project their straightness onto the classic rock musicians.
Rock as we know it has always been inspired by LSD. This is an unremarkable 70s attitudes, when drugs flowed freely. and were taken for granted, unlike today. People these days don't even try to comprehend what the word "Rush" means! What do they think it means, "musicians in a great hurry"?! It was obvious in the 70s that Rush means the rush of an acid peak. Not heroin, speed, pot, or coke, but acid. But now acid rock is a lost science, and people hear "rush" as just another empty, meaningless, arbitrary word that merely "sounds cool".
No LSD, no rock. You can't have worthwhile rock without LSD. This is what classic rock has always been about, at the peak. To any classic rock lover in the 70s, real rock is acid rock. Any band who has not been inspired by this, can hardly rise above mediocrity. These attitudes are not necessarily true -- but they are practically true. Most bands are too proud to admit it, that their power comes so much from this inspiration, rather from their ego. But Rush has never been so foolish and proud so as to say, "I am sufficient, I have no need of the elixir, I am the self-sufficient origin of creative power." They continue to give tribute to the sacrament and fountain of inspiration.
This is why Rush deserves acknowledgment as the most inspired rock band. With other outstanding inspired groups such as Led Zeppelin and the Beatles, there are albums heavily inspired by acid, but even then, the lyrics are less consistently directed at such allusions.
Rush is the most respectable band because they have the highest commitment to acid lyrics. But while they have constantly pointed to the altered state, this is ineffective because of the culture of the 80s and 90s -- they tell people to "use the key, unlock the door" -- but no one these days knows what the key is, so how can they possibly take up Rush in their offer, and decode the rest of the lyrics? But Rush is stuck, because they don't want to come out and publicize the key, because it would kill the mystery.
This quote reminds me of Peart:
Terry Gilliam has been quoted as saying "Because I dislike being quoted, I lie almost constantly when talking about my work."
This is Rush's great failure during the past decade -- failure to communicate with the audience. Perhaps they wanted it this way, to be a secret that no one knows about, so that we might have the excitement of rediscovering lost knowledge -- our own Discovery. After all, so much of Neil's statements are crafted to deny and hide understanding, almost out of a compulsion to obfuscate. It's as if all he cares about is protecting his secrets, strenuously ignoring the key during interviews. Because of these factors, we have arrived at a situation like 2112, where this discovery is shunned and dismissed by the establishment, and even the world of rock has been taken over and refuses to listen to this marvelous wonder. All this acid coding that goes on now has become nothing but an exclusive club of the backstage musicians. Metallica thanks Rush, publicly, for their "guidance", but meanwhile, leaves the entire audience of Metallica fans and Rush fans totally clueless, literally, about the nature of this "guidance". The next thing you know, Slayer is using acid rock techniques in the lyrics for _Divine Intervention_.
Meanwhile, the fans of all these bands remain entirely clueless. God damn it, what about the relationship and communication between the bands and the audience! What is this, some sort of class system, where the musicians can smirk amongst themselves, about how they can pull the wool over their audience's eyes, year after year? Neil has gone too far, and is supporting ignorance, rather than understanding. He has to know damn well that no one is hearing anything he is saying, that no one has a chance in hell of knowing what "the key" is, and that it is impossible for anyone to "unlock the door". It is an attitude of "look how evil and balanced I am". Maybe he is just afraid to hand the key to the audience -- that this will impact their profits by demystifying Rush.
But it is appropriate that instead of Rush making known the key, in these dark times, the listeners do. Maybe this is what Neil is counting on. I have been despairing lately though, because with so little acid availability and demand these days, the secrets may well become lost forever. It is not clear that acid will ever be re-discovered, even though there are new zines such as _Psychedelic Illuminations_. As far as revealing the code of acid rock, it falls into my lap to publish and publicize this lost knowledge. I could publish this thread as "The Lost Science of Acid Rock". If I publicize and explain this lost science well enough, then the demand would increase, and the key to understanding Rush would be re-discovered, in a cooperation between Rush -- and other acid-inspired bands -- and the audience.
It is hard to justify a heartless attitude of leaving the 80s Rush fans in a bland darkness of ignorance, when I would take me just a few postings to make understanding available to a few who are interested in the full potential of these devices that Rush produces. It's lonely knowing what I know, and I don't have time to delay saying this, while hurrying forever trying to write an entire book. There is no point in witholding this. I teach what I've been taught.
Rush is the most important band for philosophers to study. They have the highest percentage of allusions to acid mysticism of any group. Whether or not you enjoy the sound of their music, their lyrics are the most substantial source for studying acid mysticism in rock. By no means are they alone in their language of dissociative phenomena, so I cover other groups as well. Rush lyrics allude to heavy mystic dissociative experiencing and phenomena, and are designed to resonate with situations associated with the exploration of lsd.
Rush lyrics (from various songs) designed to provoke doubt during cognitive dissociation
We've got nothing to fear but fear itself, not the broken contacts in this mad machinery, nor fatalist tragedy. The threat is all inside your head, and it's scared out of its wits. Every muscle tensed to face the enemy within. I see red. It's something better left unsaid. Can't we talk about something else instead?
There is nothing to worry about in listening to Rush. It is, after all, only music, signalling to you in your ticking trap. Don't worry about the mercury that is rising and the barometer that is falling when you are seeking freedom in your lonely deserted town, suspecting hidden manipulators when no one else is around, and no escape, no place to hide.
Here are just a few of the many recurrent themes in the LSD-oriented Rush lyrics.
Every nerve is torn apart....
Every nerve aware
Needles at your nerve ends crawl like spiders on your skin
Bright antenna bristle with the energy
Needles at your nerve ends, crawl like spiders on [under?] your skin
The sky is pitching violently, drawn by shrieking winds
Waiting for the winds of change to sweep the clouds away
Run like the wind, as excitement shivers up and down my spine
Wind in my hair, shifting and drifting
Drive like the wind, straining the limits of machine and man
A hot and windy August afternoon has the trees in constant motion
Moonrise, thoughtful eyes, staring back at me from the window beside
Go screaming through the valley as another joins the chase
Eye to I, reaction burning hotter, two to one, reflection on the water, H to O, no flow without the other, oh but how do they make contact with one another?
A simple kind [of] mirror to reflect upon our own
I looked in the mirror today, my eyes [my I] just didn't seem so bright
Every muscle tense -- to fence the enemy within
Another glass of  wine, drink with eyes that shine
Beneath his hat the strangeness lies, take it off, he's got three eyes
My eyes have just been opened, and they're open very wide
Eyes wide open, heart undefended -- innocence untarnished
The world is, the world is, love and life are deep, maybe as his eyes are wide
I see the hand of man arise, with hungry mind and open eyes
Moonrise, thoughtful eyes, staring back at me from the window beside
Eye to I, reaction burning hotter, two to one, reflection on the water
Before the Motor Law, and on Sundays I elude the Eyes
Every breath a static charge, a tongue that tastes like tin, steely-eyed outside to hide the enemy within
You don't get freedom for free, you won't get wise with the sleep still in your eyes, no matter what your dreams might be
The sleep is still in my eyes, the dream is still in my head
High in the air, in fascination, with the eyes of the world we stare
Follow men's eyes as they look to the skies, the shifting shafts of shining weave the fabric of their dreams
Living in a fisheye lens, caught in the camera eye
The Snow Dog, ermine glowing in the damp night, coal-black eyes shimmering with hate
Shreds of black cloud loom in overcast skies; the Necromancer keeps watch with his magic prism eyes [eye?]
Struck between the eyes by the big-time world
Tears that fall from eyes, that only cry - would it touch you deeper, than tears that fall from eyes that know why?
Then lost in that feeling, I looked in your eyes
There's a beacon in the darkness, in a distant pair of eyes
We've taken care of everything, the words you hear the songs you sing, the pictures that give pleasure to you eyes
What happened to our innocence, did it go out of style? along with our naivete, no longer a child; different eyes see different things
Yet my eyes are drawn toward the mountain in the east
Walking uneasy streets
Wall street shuffles there
Pavements may teem with intense energy
Then flow through the streets of the city
They chase through the streets of Manhattan
Mist in the streets of Westminster
Alive in the streets of the city
Somewhere out of a memory of lighted streets on quiet nights
Busy streets and dizzy heights
You move me with your buildings and your eyes
A planet of playthings, we dance on the strings, of powers
we cannot conceive
A giant boy, you've just become his brand new toy
Memory, memory chip, memories flashing quickly by, memory banks unloading - bytes break into bits
Peart's nickname is "The Professor" -- similar to the following blotter:
Peart is an acid mystic. Here are some blotter sheets with mystic artwork:
"Remembering when first I held the wheel in my own hand
I took the helm so easily and sailed for distant lands
But now the sea's too heavy
And I just don't understand
Why must my crew desert me
When I need, I need a guiding hand"
"he's got to walk a fine line
and keep his self control"
"and the mercury is rising
barometer starts to fall
you know it gets to us all"
"we have assumed control"
"use the key, unlock the door
see what your fate might have in store"
"you wake up lost
in an empty town
wondering why no one else is around
look up to see a giant boy
just become his brand new toy
and no escape, no place to hide
here where time and space collide"
"guidance systems breakdown
the struggle to resist - to exist
a dying pulse of power
in a clenching plastic fist
100,100,1, sos - in distress" -- Rush
Experience to extremes
Every muscle tense -- to fence [face?] the enemy within
the battle lost -- or won
Fortune is random -- Fate shoots from the hip I know you get crazy, but try not to lose your grip
It's just Psychotica -- Chaotica It's just Exotica -- Neurotica
Excitement so thick -- you could cut it with a knife
The big bang -- took and shook the world Shot down the rising sun
Alternating currents force a show of hands
Sometimes building you a stairway -- Lock you underground
To live between a rock and a hard place In between time --
Play of light A photograph The way I used to be
The act of a noble warrior Who lost the will to fight
Tears away with a mighty force The air is shattered by the awesome sound
The heart of a lonely hunter Guards a dangerous frontier
Seeking freedom beneath a lonely desert sun
Make each impression a little bit stronger
Freeze this motion a little bit longer
This is not a false alarm This is not a test
Rational responses force a change of plans
Each of us- A cell of awareness- Imperfect and incomplete.
1-0-0-1-0-0-1 In distress
So who's afraid Of a little abstraction
I'll be there When I teach what I've been taught
Each of us a world apart, Alone and yet together, Like two passing ships.
We sometimes catch a window A glimpse of what's beyond
I find no absolution In my rational point of view
The gap between actor and act The lens between wishes and fact
It was long after midnight When we got to unconditional love
It's just the age It's just a stage --
Reaching for the alien shore
Growing up it all seems so one-sided Opinions all provided The future pre-decided
Sometimes it takes all your strength Just to keep holding on
Truth is after all a moving target Hairs to split, and pieces that don't fit
Each time we alter the focus To make the wrong move seem right
But we're not always free.
Rational resistance to an unwise urge
activate the window and watch the world go 'round --
Bows its head and prays To the mother of all machines...
It's the power and the glory It's a war in paradise
Truth is false and logic lost Now the fourth dimension is crossed
Got to try and fill the void...
Ignorance and prejudice And fear walk hand in hand.
How we talked and drank Into the misty dawn
I have memory and awareness, But I have no shape or form.
Cause for strangers and arrangers Constant change is here to stay
He's a writer and arranger [a rider and a ranger]
And a bright and nameless vision Has him longing to depart [ego disappear]
I bring truth and understanding,
I tasted the answers And my body was weak
Lit up with anticipation We arrive at the launching site
I'm together. I'm apart.
Maybe some things are instinctive But there's one thing you could do
Yet my eyes are drawn toward the mountain in the east.
One night we are bathed in light One day carried away in storms
as his eyes are wide.
He knows changes aren't permanent, But change is.
Sometimes pushing people around Sometimes pulling out the rug
Or through the Astral Door --- To soar...
Look around -- at the sight and the sound Look in look out look around --
The timeless old attraction [soul attraction]
To make an audience feel He really means it
Fly by night away from here Change my life again
Never turn your back on a Monster!
Respond, vibrate, feed back, resonate
Someone set a bad example Made surrender seem all right
People storm the barricade Walls go tumbling in
Each time we bathe our reactions In artificial light
How can anybody be enlightened? Truth is after all so poorly lit
Lightning reactions Must be carefully trained
This moment may be brief But it can be so bright
Ultimately they will become empty, mindless spectres, stripped of will and soul
A tired mind become a shape shifter
The case had been tried by the jury inside
It was just before sunrise When we started on traditional roles
the end was begun -- it would hit everyone When the chain reaction was done
Like old Sol behind the mountain, I'll be coming up again.
One likes to believe in the freedom of music,
Beneath the noble birth Between the proudest words Behind the beauty, crack appear
He's a little bit afraid of dying -- But he's a lot more afraid of your lying
To taste my bitter triumph As a mad immortal man
An insulated [uninsulated] border In between the bright lights And the far unlit [foreign land] unknown[
All of the brightest boys To play with the biggest toys -- More than they bargained for...
Jack, relax. Get busy with the facts. No zodiacs or almanacs
Scream out desperation but no one cares to hear.
Overwhelmed by everything But wanting more so much --
Bright images flashing by Like windshields towards a fly
Guide the future by the past Long ago the mould was cast
My Rocinante' sailed by night On her final flight.
Memory banks unloading Bytes break into bits
All that we can do is just survive All that we can do to help ourselves is stay alive...
Oh the light can carry All the images to me
Mystic rhythms -- capture my thoughts And carry them away
Can't be too careful With that dangerous pride
Catch the mist, catch the myth Catch the mystery, catch the drift.
My gaze is caught and held and I am helpless, mesmerized.
Throw off those chains of reason And your prison disappears.
Gears and iron chains Turn the grinding wheel
The air is charged -- a humid, motionless mass
Cut to the Chase
I live to climb that mountain to the Fountain of Lamneth.
Sailing into destiny Closer to the Heart
There's a snake coming out of the darkness Parade from paradise
Innocence gave me confidence To go up against reality.
Rebel without a conscience Martyr without a cause
why must my crew desert me when I need a guiding hand?
Spirits fly on dangerous missions Imaginations on fire
Images conflicting into data overload
Nearer to my deadly goal Until the Black Hole --- Gains control...
Too late for debate, too bad to ignore Quiet rebellion leads to open war
Spinning, whirling, Still descending
Hoping you'll believe Designing to deceive
Apollo was astonished; Dionysus thought me mad.
The Body Electric
In quest of Dionysus, To find out what they had lost.
Call out for direction and there's no one there to steer.
Give the jury direction Based on the evidence I, the jury
Ooh, bloodstained velvet, dirty lace, naked fear on every face
We suspend our disbelief And we are not alone --
The party is disrupted by An uninvited guest
The people were divided, Every soul a battlefield.
the pride that divides
I guess it doesn't matter. There's not much more to, not much more to live.
Stick it out Don't swallow the poison
Moment of crisis Don't swallow the truth
Images around me don't identify inside.
Guidance systems break down A struggle to exist -- to resist
Come explore your dreams' creation Enter this world of imagination
I'll give it due reflection Watching from the fence
A pulse of dying power in a clenching plastic fist...
Performers and portrayers, Each another's audience Outside the gilded cage.
Everybody got to elevate from the norm.
The key, the end, the answer, stripped of their disguise.
It is the engine that drives itself But it chooses the uphill climb
Energy is contagious Enthusiasm spreads
Mysteries of night escape the light of day
something that somehow escaped me -- Something you shouldn't have said
to think that every single facet of every life is regulated and directed from within
It's understood By every single person Who'd be elsewhere if they could
No more lame excuses It has to be tonight
Struck between the eyes By the big-time world
Wounded pride, distorted eyes Paint the night with battle-cries
Kicked in the face, You can't [can] pray for a place In Heaven's unearthly estate.
Don't go too far
Frozen in that fatal climb [clime] -- but the wheels of time -- Just pass you by...
Atmospheric disturbance, The feverish flux Of human interface and interchange.
They tried to fight him Just couldn't beat him
There is a fine line between love and illusion -
Living in a fisheye lens, Caught in the camera eye.
With an iron fist in a velvet glove We are sheltered under the gun
Sweet memories Flashing very quickly by
on the bedroom floor Is a cold fire
Cry out supplication for the maelstrom is near.
as you head for the door Is a cold fire
Here's a meaning for my life, a shelter from the storm.
The clouds prepare for battle In the dark and brooding silence.
rising falling at force ten we twist the world and ride the wind
He's got a force field and a flexible plan He's got a date with fate in a black sedan
Static on your frequency Electrical storm in your veins
Draw another goblet from the cask of forty-three.
You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill
We can go from boom to bust From dreams to a bowl of dust
The deepest mystery From an ancient book. I took a clue
I scaled the frozen mountain tops Of eastern lands unknown
When I leave I don't know What I'm leaving behind...
Call it blind frustration Call it blind man's bluff
Sky [?this guy] full of poison And the atmosphere's too thin
In the glory game on the power train Thy kingdom's will be done
We turned our gaze From the castles in the distance
you know it gets to us all
Fascinates and captivates; gives my heart no peace.
Raging at unreachable glory Straining at invisible chains
Handle with kid gloves Handle with kid gloves [wicked gloves]
I see the gods in battle rage on high, Thunderbolts across the sky.
Scorching blast of golden fire As it slowly leaves the ground
Jump to the ground As the Turbo slows to cross the Borderline.
Wind In my hair [wind in my head] Shifting and drifting-
Process information at half speed.
I see the hand of man arise With hungry mind and open eyes
When the dust has cleared And victory denied A summit too lofty River a little too wide
A thousand years have come and gone But time has passed me by
Crimson, misty mem'ry, hazy glimpse of me.
Floodlit in the hazy distance The star of this unearthly show
A manic depressive He walks in the rain
Today's Tom Sawyer, He gets high on you,
It's not a matter of mercy It's not a matter of laws
Reality withdraws Now he believes it
Wheel goes round, landing on a twist of faith
Your turn my head I spin my wheels
Right to the heart of the matter Right to the beautiful part
Headed for the heart of Cygnus Headlong into mystery
the key to heaven's door
Once, with heads held high They sang out to the sky Why do their shadows bow in fear?
I took the helm so eagerly and sailed for distant lands.
holding ev'ry creature, helplessly they stand.
The x-ray is her siren song My ship cannot resist her long
I only write for those who care to hear -- my heart goes out to you. Others, I cannot afford to concern myself with. It is enough of a challenge working on my own understanding of these things, fitting the puzzle pieces together. For those who already have pieced together many clues, here is the mother lode on a silver platter.
Sure, metaphysical philosophy has no place in a forum that has been defined as a mere fan group. But those who would build a different type of online community have every ability to follow the beat of their own song. I have nothing against those who listen with ordinary ears and hear in the usual way. But my commitment is with those who open their minds all the way and become one with the music, every nerve aware, illusions painfully shattered, right where discovery starts.
Rush of the Presto era is "very clean cut" and therefore appears not to be heavily inspired by LSD. But the 80s don't count. I'm thinking of their origin in 1974 and 1975, which were very druggy years. Rush cannot be understood without a clear sense of pop rock and roll cultural history. People have to erase the late 70s and the 80s from their minds, to understand 1975 Rush within the 1975 context. I doubt that the younger fans are able to do this; they lack perspective and assume that all of history is just like this year -- that the 1995 attitudes are valid for understanding the outlook of Rush twenty years ago.
The first real Rush album was a full-fledged acid rock album, and by the end of _Caress of Steel_ they are already asking, "now that we've done everything and climbed the highest mountain, how can we possibly go on"? (Refer to lyrics.) But they did go on, grandly (for the most part). 1974 and 1975 was THE Rush, and all the rest was the aftermath, the follow-through.
Your head has probably been pumped full of misinformation, propaganda, and stereotypes about drug users. The fact is, many of the most important LSD users -- not to mention its inventor -- are clean-cut.
It's so ironic for you to call Peart clean-cut. He's a fucking long-haired rock and roll freak! Look at the 2112 photos! "Clean-cut" means an office worker.
Someone wrote "I find it humorous, to say the least, that someone
should suggest that Neil Peart's lyrics in the mid 70's were drug
I am surprised that you find the claim laughable that a hard rock lyricist in the 70s was inspired by drugs. Hard rock in the 70s was thoroughly saturated with drugs. For example, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. Where were you during the 70s? There was more than John Denver -- "Rocky Mountain High".
In the alt.music.rush newsgroup, I asserted that Rush is essentially an acid rock band. Some people who seem to know nothing but the standard cliches about "crazed drug-using morons" felt that I had blasphemed their gods. In my response, I continued to judge and disagree with people, but in a way other than condemning and slurring them.
Rush fans have a certain responsibility to show by example what a rational argument is, as opposed to the dominant newsgroup mode of emotional or violent argument. There are constructive ways to disagree. Drug users should be treated with dignity as individuals, not lumped together and demonized and reduced to subhumans just because of their use of drugs. The flaming mentality is especially out of place in the Rush newsgroup, and especially from those who pose as dedicated Rush fans.
Many acid users have made huge cultural contributions and continue to do so. You don't know who they are or how many qualify as "losers". It might possibly be true that the curve is a little skewed such that more drug users are losers than non-drug users, but this is a really hard call, and there are far too many exceptions to make a strong generalization. A lot of programmers use drugs.
I have read that Bill Gates, Paul Allen, and Steve Jobs were acid enthusiasts, as well as a Nobel prize winner. Neil Peart is in good company. It would be interesting to list the important people who are experienced acid enthusiasts.
Online conversation about Rush adds up to nothing, today's fans are naive, sheltered kids. No one even attempts to say anything of interest. The Rush members would learn nothing from coming here, except to have a lower opinion of "the average". There is a failure to discuss philosophy and things beyond music itself. The newsgroup is a mere fan club of the average. Today's fans have failed to hear the real theme of the Rush lyrics.
Many productive citizens have used drugs and currently use acid or other drugs. Having no idea who these people are, it is illogical to slam them all with a broad brush as having ruined their brains. One Rush song is dedicated to pot, and chemistry has the doublespeak phrase "burning ['p'] hotter". I am confident that Neil, and probably the other two, have used a great deal of acid. There is nothing in the least, remarkable about this. Thousands of bands have used acid a lot - it's a part of the backstage scene, and if this comes as a surprise, you are simply naive. This is hardly a long-shot of a scenario. Rush would have great reason to make this obscure, even while celebrating it and supporting others. If you disagree on this, that still does not make it reasonable to disparage acidheads as brainless losers, since you don't know who these individuals are. You are just repeating cliche attitudes without realizing it. There is no way to tar the entire group of LSD users as basket cases - Korzybsky in _Science and Sanity_ wrote about how political extremism thrives on such hazy generalizations of stereotyping. Drug user(1) must be addressed separately from drug user(2), and any generalizations you make should be acknowledged as such.
Drug use is what you make of it. The great mind makes great use of drugs -- for example, the Beatles, Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and Rush. The feeble, average, uncultivated mind is unable to create anything with drugs except vague, incohate noises, and cannot fathom how a great mind could produce lofty coherence from the seemingly overwhelming depths of unformed possibilities, possibilities that restlessly recombine in the mystic altered state that some call 'vision-logic'.
Beware of generalizations, conventional thinking, and received views. Truth will never be found by uncritical acquiescence to consensus attitudes.
Rush fans who take up arms against my online theorizing fit into the role of the priests in the song 2112, and the ignorant, fearful, and prejudiced townspeople in the song Witch Hunt. These songs are specificially about the demonization of psychedelics, which are a key, essential tool to study the mind.
They say there is strangeness too dangerous
in our newsgroups and bookstore shelves.
Fans should ask themselves, What have I contributed to a significant understanding of the essence of Rush and their philosophy? Have I challenged myself to contribute something outstanding? It is the easy way out, to limit yourself to the marshland of trivia. Trivia is fun and fine, but people lose sight of the higher things that are certainly more valuable to Rush themselves.
Do swallow the poison, use the key, and unlock the door. When your will threatens to turn against you and you reach for the sacrificial knife of truth, you can accept some other sacrifice in your stead, and show submission to the facts shown you by the power of logic, by praying to the god of the future. Past this point, and often past some ensuing despair, there are many other experiences that are most intriguing.
Wind - in my head
Shifting and drifting
Some other people recognize allusions to psychedelic experiences in Rush lyrics, based on postings and emails I've seen.
My assertions are highly unusual -- in the sense that the vast majority of fans are too caught up in trivia to consider systematically the broader themes of Rush. I don't expect anyone to believe me anytime soon, because they haven't had a chance to consider the arguments that I set forth.
The work laid out for me is to set forth a specific interpretation of Rush, for people to judge and then accept or reject.
For ideas on the Western Enlightenment, freedom, and intellectual
freedom, refer to Aristotle's _Politics_, Locke, Rousseau, and
Jefferson, as well as Hume and also Nietsche.
>You can't clearly classify Nietzsche as an Enlightenment philosopher, he was sort of behind the wave of that time period, coming into play a bit later than the others, and certainly later than Aristotle. Good reading nonetheless, and I think that you will enjoy him. There are a lot of interesting corellaries between Nietzsche and Zen philosophy, in terms of the getting back to the Earth and natural things, but Nietzsche approaches it from a Western perspective, literally bashing some of our "greatest" institutions.
The author -- rather, the webmaster -- is a goldsmith and jewelry maker, has a very good web site with substantial material on the history and meaning of occult symbols. I don't know if he actually wrote the article.
This article, with images, is
There is a surprising number of meanings for the pentagram. They all "twist things around" from each other -- in fact, they totally invert the meaning. This is an especially variable or perhaps invertable symbol.
The following contains my commentary on most of the article, and elaboration of the possible tie-ins with Rushian philosophy and phenomenology.
>The pentagram has long been associated with mystery and magic. It is sometimes called the Endless Knot. other names are the Goblin's Cross, the Pentalpha, the Witch's Foot, the Devil's Star
>It has long been believed to be a potent protection against evil and demons, hence a symbol of safety, and happy homecoming in the old folk-song "Green Grow the Rushes,O!"
>refers to the use of the pentagram above doors and windows Five is the symbol at your door. The potency and associations of the pentagram have evolved throughout history. Today it is an ubiquitous symbol of neo-pagans with much depth of magickal and symbolic meaning.
>The Pentagram through History. The pentagram symbol today is ascribed many meanings and deep significance, though much of this is very recent. However, it has been used throughout history and in many contexts:
>imperial power. Hebrews: Truth, five books of the Pentateuch.
>In Ancient Greece, it was called the Pentalpha, being geometrically composed of five A's. Unlike earlier civilisations, the Greeks did not generally attribute other symbolic meanings to the letters of their alphabet, but certain symbols became connected with Greek letter shapes or positions (eg Gammadion, Alpha-Omega). To the Gnostics, the pentagram was the 'Blazing Star'.
The experience of ego death is like a strange attractor, pulsing beacon, or blazing star.
>For the Druids, it was a symbol of Godhead.
The ego thinks itself to be a prime mover -- its own, sovereign God/King.
>Medieval Christians attributed the pentagram to the Five Wounds of Christ.
Interesting that they used the symbol at all.
>The Christian Emperor Constantine I used the pentagram, together with the chi-rho symbol in his seal and amulet.
>In the legend of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the pentagram was Sir Gawain's glyph, inscribed in gold on his shield, symbolising the five knightly virtues.
>In Medieval times, the 'Endless Knot' was a symbol of Truth
The mind contains the puzzle of the homunculus as cybernetic steersman. The logic of this egoic steersman is like an endless knot or labyrinth. Or, endless knot could imply the profound subtle consistency of our actual nature, despite the confusions of the conscious mind or ego.
>protection against demons. It was used as personal protection and to guard windows and doors. The pentagram has long been believed to be a potent protection against evil, a symbol of conflict that shields the wearer and the home.
In psychedelic experience, there is a great need or wish for protection from one's fated freedom, a freedom which turns into its opposite when seen from a higher perspective. This is terrifying and dangerous.
>During the long period of the Inquisition, the pentagram was seen to symbolise a Goat's Head. In the purge on witches, the horned god Pan became equated with the Devil (a Christian concept) and the pentagram, for the first time in history became a symbol of 'evil' and was called the Witch's Foot.
>In the emergence of Hermeticism, graphical symbolism ... The pentagram, the 'Star of the Microcosm', symbolised Man within the microscosm, representing in analogy the Macrocosmic universe.
'Cosmic' reminds me of the cosmic themes in Rush -- "left our planets" ... dangerous cosmic voyage to the heart of the loss of control, the inner black hole, which leads to destruction and cosmic unity of self with everything
>The upright pentagram bears some resemblance to the shape of man with his legs and arms outstretched; indeed an illustration attributed to Agrippa or to Tycho Brae (1582) illustrates the similarity of proportion in this image, showing the five planets and the moon at the centre point - the genitalia. There are other illustrations of the period by Robert Fludd and Leonardo da Vinci showing geometrical relationships of man to the universe.
>Later, the pentagram came to be symbolic of the relationship of the head to the four limbs and hence of the pure concentrated essence of anything (or the spirit) to the four traditional elements of matter. - [Quintessence]
The 1-point up pentagram is like the 5 "limbs" of a human, so could represent "the human" or ego.
>In Freemasonry, Man as Microprosopus was associated with the five-pointed Seal of Solomon. The symbol was used, interlaced and upright for the sitting Master of the Lodge. The geometric properties and structure of the Endless Knot were appreciated and symbolically incorporated into the 72 degree angle of the compasses. [INLINE] The womens' branch of freemasonry uses the five pointed 'Eastern Star' as its emblem. Each point commemorates a heroine of biblical lore.
>No graphical illustration of any association of the pentagram with evil appears until the nineteenth century. Eliphas Levi
Interesting, given its current pop association strictly with evil.
>illustrates the upright pentagram of microcosmic man beside an inverted pentagram with the goat's head of Baphomet.
>In ritual magick the sign has long been used as a ritual flourish of the athame to symbolise invoking or banishing in respect to elemental associations.
>In the 1940's Gerald Gardner adopted the pentagram with two points upward as the sigil of second degree initiation in the newly emergent, neo-pagan rituals of witchcraft, later to become known as Wicca. The one-point upward pentagram together with the upright triangle symbolised third degree initiation.
I like how the 2-point up pentagram is for 2nd degree wiccan initiation, and 1-point up is for 3rd -- um, is 3rd more advanced than 2nd? As you advance, you invert.
>The potency of a symbol has more to do with its associations and its commonality than with its antiquity
>the pentagram today is ubiquitous amongst neo-pagans.
Yet pagans see it as an evil symbol to be shunned? (Elsewhere in the article.)
>Symbolic Meanings of the Pentagram.
>The number '5' has always been regarded as mystical and magical, yet essentially 'human'.
The highest puzzle is the "human mystery" of self-control cybernetics. The ultimate puzzle is not out there in the land of materialist science, but in the inner land of psychology or cognitive science.
>We have five fingers/toes on each limb extremity. We commonly note five senses - sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste. We perceive five stages or initiations in our lives - eg. birth, adolescence, coitus, parenthood and death. (There are other numbers/ initiations/stages/attributions).
>The number 5 is associated with Mars. It signifies severity, conflict and harmony through conflict.
The harmony of the corrected self-conception, or of enlightenment, after the battle of Bytor and the Snow-Dog, every muscle tensed to face the enemy within. Zep -- the "Battle of Evermore". The Battle for Freedom from chains of long years. Battle is a major, recurring Rush theme.
>In Christianity, five were the wounds of Christ on the cross. There are five pillars of the Muslim faith and five daily times of prayer.
>Expressing the saying "Every man and every woman is a star," we can juxtapose Man on a pentagram with head and four limbs at the points and the genitalia exactly central. This is Man in microcosm, symbolising our place in the Macrocosm or universe and the Hermetic/Tantric philosophy of associativity - "As above, so below"
>The geometric proportions of the regular pentagram are those of the Golden Section.
>The Golden Proportion is one beloved of artists since Renaissance times, being those of a rectangle considered most pleasing in proportion.
The corrected self-concept brought by enlightenment has an elegant, stark beauty. The naive egoic worldview and self-concept is logically a muddled, ugly mess. (The egoic cognitive structures are useful but ultimately are a tool, not to be totally identified with.)
>larger golden rectangle is formed. Continuing this progression forms the basis for a nautilus spiral.
The spiral is a very mystical symbol, probably because its source and destination are mysterious and hidden. In particular, the source of our ego-power is obscured. We feel ourselves to be an absolute source of our actions, but many people including many mystics, disagree, and say that we are vessels for power that originates from a hidden fountain, from which flows our thoughts, will and decisions, given to us rather than truly and simply originating with the ego or homunculus.
>The pentagram has five spiked wards and a womb shaped defensive, protective pentagon at the centre. There are five elements, four of matter (earth, air, fire and water) and THE quintessential - spirit. These may be arrayed around the pentagrams points. The word 'quintessential' derives from this fifth element - the spirit. Single point upwards signifies the spirit ruling matter (mind ruling limbs); is a symbol of rightness. With two points up and one (spirit) downwards, subservient, the emphasis is on the carnal nature of Man. [INLINE] Tracing a path around the pentagram, the elements are placed in order of density - spirit (or aether). fire, air, water, earth. Earth and fire are basal, fixed; air and water are free, flowing. These point attributions are used in ritually inscribing, as a flourish of the hands or the athame, different forms of pentagram for invoking or banishing (grounding) each of the elementals according to the nature of the ritual. The line traces as illustrated for earth (the last stroke is optional). [INLINE]
>Another way of seeing this path is as Man's spiritual journey through evolution. The spark of Life descending from God, the divine source of life to the simplest embryonic form (earth), rising to flow (water - air) on our plane of existence (compare with the intonation of the AUM mantra), then again descending to the fire of purification before again rising as a divine spark to find again his spiritual source.
>The pentagram may be shown as an interlaced line symbolic of the web-weaving power of magick. The descending spirit-earth line may pass under (male) or over (female) the water-air line to give two slightly differing forms.
>A pentagram may be open, without a surrounding circle. This is the active form symbolising an outgoing of oneself, prepared for conflict, aware, active. (One wearing an open pentagram must be physically aware of the danger of sharp points sticking in their skin from time to time !)
>A circle around a pentagram contains and protects. It is the passive form implying spiritual containment of the magic circle. The circle also represents eternity and infinity.
>Inverted Pentagram The pentagram may be inverted with one point down. The implication is of spirit subservient to matter, of man subservient to his carnal desires.
I would say, man subservient to his lower, inferior form of self-understanding, when he considers himself ultimately ego-driven.
>The inverted pentagram has come to be seen by many pagans as representing the dark side and it is abhored as an evil symbol. Fundamental christians, indeed, see any form of pentagram as such. However, these are recent developments
>the inverted pentagram is the symbol of Gardnerian second degree initiation, representing the need of the witch to learn to face the darkness within so that it may not later rise up to take control.
This is very important. Psychedelics turn your attention inward to the nature of your self-control, rendering it much more problematic than usual. You experience the universe taking over your control, even while your freedom explodes and escapes the chains of morality, superego, and self-guidance integrated across time. The immediate self gains control, unbalanced with the needs of the long-term self. Yet the nature of this control is shifted, re-centered on the ground of being or fate, rather than simply originating from the homunculus. With control, the buck does not stop here at the homunculus. In mystic experiencing, a more ultimate layer is revealed: the underlying world, the frozen block-universe, that gives rise to, and thus 'controls' (in a certain sense) the homunculus.
>The centre of a pentagram implies a sixth formative element - love/will which controls from within, ruling matter and spirit by Will and the controlled magickal direction of sexual energies. This is another lesson of initiation.
Again, the important concept of will and control, rulership from within. However, King Ego is in some way a puppet-king. Metallica: _Master of Puppets_. You've just become His brand new toy. Bastille Day is here, the guillotine of enlightenment will fall, in the ego-death of king ego, your homunculus-steersman tied helpless to the mast. What are you going to do when you are ill-equipped to act, a mere player on the stage? Will you decide to choose free will, or will you choose not to decide? You will decide what the cards of fate will you to decide.
>In physical form, the pentagram may be worn as an amulet - as jewellery - pendant, ring, earrings, buckle, etc. The author of this article has long specialised in making such amulets in gold and silver. They are available to you on..http://www.tcp.co.uk/~amulet/
email: ringmaker at tcp.co.uk
The Red Star appears on the cover of _2112_ and _Moving Pictures_ and on the sleeve of _Farewell to Kings_ (if I recall correctly). Does anyone know of any other places this Rush symbol appears?
The vinyl album art is infinitely superior to the CD art. All Rush fans should look in the yellow pages, find the most complete used record store in the region, and check out the real artwork. For example, _Caress of Steel_ has the lyrics printed in gothic font on large stones that wiggle in front of your eyes.
There are many stars on flags. Here are the ones most similar to the Rush star.
Yugoslavia: upright red star inside upright yellow star -- horiz. red white and blue bands behind this.
USSR: yellow hammer and sickle with yellow star outline above it. Red background.
People's Dem. Rep of Yemen: small red star pointing right. Light blue background.
Turkey: left-pointing white star on red background (also a moon).
Vietnam: large upright yellow star centered on a red background.
China (mainland): upright yellow star on red background. 4 tiny yellow stars left or right pointing.
Mongolia: trippy totem pole of symbols topped by upright yellow star - red and blue background.
North Korea -- large red star in white circle, on red background (also blue and white stripes). CHECK THIS ONE OUT.
New Zealand: small red stars inside yellow or white stars, blue background.
Benin: upright red star, green background.
Tunisia - left-pointing red star tucked into moon, in white circle on red background.
Djibouti: upright red star, white background.
Zimbabwe - upright red star obscured by bird - white background.
Panama - upright red star and blue star in diagonal corners. White background.
Devil fans: Barbados has a large black 3-pronged devil-style pitchfork.
The star is an interesting symbol with many meanings. Like great lyrics, it is partly ambiguous.
No flag has a red outline-star on a black background -- a theme that had taken on strong associations with Satanism by 1976. Rush would almost certainly have been aware of these associations, and probably relished the ambiguity.
This emphasis on the power and autonomy of the individual is similar to Satanism in some aspects. Satanism emphasizes the unconstrained individual, but in an asymmetrical way, ignoring and denying the rights of others, and thus aligns itself with Nazism, which emphasizes cancelling and transcending one's moral constraints in order to have total power over others, which requires, ultimately, having power over the will of others.
This gives the fuel for the symbology on Rush albums, of the naked guy apprehending the pentagram after having passed through the circuit board (representing technology and logic), and into the dark space of inner emptiness and powerlessness. This is not simply a right-side up pentagram as opposed to an inverted, satanic pentagram. Rather, more to the point, it's a double-inverted pentagram. The power of self-will cancels itself out, but only after fully working through the system of egoic will-power to the point at which its power turns against itself, as reflected in many Rush lyrics such as the following:
"he's got to walk a fine line, and keep his self control(led)"
"every nerve is tensed to face the enemy within"
Power also dissolves into the slavery of Fate in the following song. I've added annotations to point out the allusions to mystic/altered-state phenomena. Against the New Agers, and for the Rand followers (the ego promoters), I point out that mystic, mystery, and mysterious should be taken to mean "hidden" or "obscured" -- not rationally unintelligible. There is unanimous agreement that "mystic knowledge" is nonrational. Alas, everyone is wrong, because it is actually intelligible. You should listen to me because I am the only one in the world who asserts the rationality of mystic experiencing, while everyone else gleefully throws up their arms - "it can't be explained!" Naturally, I would hasten to correct the Alice-ian line below, "Truth is false and logic lost".)
There is some indication that Rush originally tripped on LSD weekly (Red Barchetta says "every Sunday" he broke the law). But then (I don't know around which album), the band members got married and settled down and practically stopped using LSD. Their writing and playing became uninspired after Grace Under Pressure. So I blame getting married -- but I need to check what years the band got married.
2. Fly by Night
3. Caress of Steel
I believe, as do a certain minority, that #3, the second album with lyricist Neil Peart was the best, most important album by Rush. After Grace Under Pressure (1984 or so), almost all the albums are forgettable. The albums from Caress of Steel through Grace Under Pressure are all excellent, with double-peaks of popularity at 2112 and a few albums later with Moving Pictures.
Some people feel that the quality climbed up steadily from #1 to #4. But I see 2112 as just the aftermath of Caress of Steel, and feel the quality climbs from #1 to #3 and then steadily declines, slowly -- and the quickly, after Grace Under Pressure.